Time is a funny thing. One minute you find yourself in college making a mockery of higher education with your sub-par study habits; the next, you’re living on a different continent working as an educator. Similarly, you can easily go from being a naive young “adult” believing fully that marriage and meaningful relationships aren’t in your cards- to a happily married life filled with adventure and happy cohabitation. Stephanie changed a lot of what I believed to understand about myself. She didn’t do it on purpose, but she unlocked aspects of who I am that I thought would be acquired in my late 30’s of 40’s. I had a plan. Even though I wasn’t prepared to find her so early in my 20’s, I can’t imagine how I made it 21 years without her by my side. The best part, though, about finding your life partner so early in life isn’t just having company- it’s growing together and adventuring together through all of life’s stages.
Black Mountain, Colorado, 2010
Shortly after Stephanie and I met, we began taking trips whenever possible. We had no money, but a great desire to get out there and see what we were missing if we stayed home. I taught the pretty girl who surprisingly wanted to spend time with me to drive a stick shift, and how to correct steering when dirt roads got a little slippery under our Civic’s tires. We took secret road trips to California so that she could see the ocean for the first time, driving almost 3000 miles in just 4 days. We slept in that car through blizzards in Tucumcari, NM, holding each others’ hands and being happy. It didn’t matter where we were or what we’d seen; it has always been an adventure.
San Francisco, California, 2011
For those first three years, we were inseparable. After marriage, and in the following three years, nothing has changed. We stayed thirsty for more and have been glad to see it together. Very few of my stories lack my wife, and this makes me incredibly happy. The stories I have from back when I was a young and proud solo act are all going to be repeated so that she can see what I loved before I loved her. She needs to drive from Oklahoma to Alaska to Oklahoma to understand my never-ending infatuation with homesteading. She needs to see Ireland and sleep in the castle hotels Grandad took my to in my early teens. And then there are all of the places that neither of us have been to…
Fukuoka, Japan, 2013
My wife and I are a fantastic mix of similar and opposite. Our passions align quite well and we keep each other moving on and striving for more, while we also add diversity and alternate perspectives on the multitude of experiences we share. While traveling in different countries and through different cultures, this has made for a much more pleasurable experience with insight that is easy to miss when you’re solo. She adds to my experiences and keeps me from becoming complacent and boring. I know myself pretty well- I’d easily become a grumpy old bastard if left to my own devices, but I just checked and I’m not allowed to do that. I have to keep having fun. Rules are rules.
Taipei, Taiwan, 2013
Side by side, we’ve been teaching in Korea for a little while now. This experience has afforded us a multitude of opportunities to travel, learn, and grow. I’ve always believed that life should be lived as if was an adventure, and my travel companion wants to keep going as much as I do. In Taiwan were here hit with typhoons but refused to stay dry and safe, instead urging each other out into the wind and rain. We broke 5 umbrellas over the course of our 5 days in and around Taipei. We hiked, saw temples, joined strangers in their homes for incredible feasts, and chased hordes of firework yielding festival gangs through the streets and night markets. She is my comfort zone, and this makes the world a much more welcoming place.
3 year anniversary, Seoul, South Korea, 2014
It’s amazing how little you recognize of your former self when you wake up six years later. I know who that person was six years ago, and I still recognize the goofy guy getting married three years ago. He’s come a long way, and every day he has recognized that the best thing he ever did was trick that pretty girl, who was always changing her hair back then, into falling in love with him. Even the city we grew tired of last year due to the hordes of people has changed in our minds. For our anniversary we revisited Seoul and fell in love all over again. We’d forgotten how great that city truly is.
I know that time will, according to the old folks, inevitably speed up and time will slip away faster as I age. But I welcome it. I look forward to what’s around each corner and over the next hill. As we’re called to chase horizons and jump into new water, I know she will be by my side. Excitement brews inside of us for each new journey, and there’s no stopping us.
And in case you’re wondering, we’re going to the Philippines for our short summer vacation. If it’s anything like any other experience we’ve shared together it’s going to be excellent. Happy 3rd Anniversary, Bunny. Let’s go do everything.
(Stephanie picked some awesome photos from the past, huh? She’s good at that stuff)